When you start on any sort of journey that is going to be difficult, you will meet the following responses in this order. This includes the journey through life. Anything that involves a decision, a change of direction – in short, the upsetting of the natural ‘social’ order. A change of job, a change of social circle, or undertaking a new qualification. A new relationship, a new divorce. Leaving behind a friend. Going travelling in a new place.
First of all, before you set off, people will try to convince you not to take the journey. That you don’t need to do this. That it’s not worth it. That your reasons for wanting to do so are invalid. They will paint you as crazy or delusional for wanting to. They are cowards and should be ignored. They do this because they are not brave enough to take the journey themselves. The more honest of them will say so.
Once you get started, everyone you meet will want to know where you are going and why. You’ll have to explain yourselves and your actions and decision making process again and again. Because people will feel entitled to know the reasons behind your decisions in life, even if they are not part of them. Some of them will accept your reasons. Others will try the tactics you already had to overcome to get started. Take heart from the acceptance and don’t listen to the cowards. You’ve had practice at ignoring them by now.
You’ll go through some initial hardships and get tempted to turn back. Because the first wave will overwhelm you and you’ll be exhausted and the idea of doing it all again will be daunting. However – you will tell yourself that you can’t bear all of this to be for nothing, and that is what will spur you on.
Everyone you meet *after* these initial hardships will want to discuss them with you in great detail. The more foolish will ask whether you encountered them, knowing that they lie on the path behind you. You will also meet a few, beautiful and cherished people who give you a heads up about further hardships to come and how to avoid them or deal with them. But you will meet far more who want to rehash what you’ve already endured, and who will use the knowledge of hardships ahead as a way to try and convince you to give up. This is because they want to encounter, second hand, the feeling of achievement that you can cherish for getting through it, without actually putting themselves through the difficulty. And they can’t bear for you to succeed where they are too scared to try.
As you get towards the end you will meet people who tell you to turn back. That you have gone far enough. That you’ve made your point. That you have proved ‘enough’ to the world. That pushing on any further would be pointless or worthless. These are the people who don’t want you to succeed. They want to bring you down. The idea of your potential success frightens them, because it proves that things can be done and that their reasons for choosing not to do so (CHOOSING, not being unable) are invalid, and they are shown up as weak. Their efforts to dissuade you also show them up as cowardly. By now you should definitely have had enough practice at ignoring cowards.
When you finally get to the end, you will quite possibly meet some of the people who gave you a heads up about hardships and encouraged you, even if they did not walk with you.
They will say just a few words and they will be more precious to you than jewels.
“I always knew you could do it.”*[Got something to say? Submit to Project Shandy]*